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Md. Health Officials Seek Ban On Crib Bumper Pads

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Dangers in the crib. Maryland health officials say an accessory that’s designed to make the crib safe can really be deadly.

Andrea Fujii explains why doctors want to change the law.

After a five-month study, Maryland doctors determined baby bumpers pose more risks than benefits and want them banned.

Like most moms, Beth Tribles wants the best for her only daughter Charlotte.

“It was my understanding that using the bumper [prevented] the arms and legs from getting trapped between the bars of the crib,” Tribles said.

But Maryland health officials have announced that all baby bumpers pose hazards that outweigh any benefits.

“These products pose a risk of strangulation, asphyxiation and even death to babies,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Doctors say the danger lies when babies sleep too close to the bumpers or the ties cause them to choke.

In Maryland, about 50 infants die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome every year.

The chief medical examiner says since 2001 there’s been one confirmed death caused by a baby bumper, and nine asphyxiation deaths in which a baby bumper was present.

“The child doesn’t have to have anything pressing up against them,” said Dr. David Fowler, Maryland Chief Medical Examiner. “Just be close enough to them restricts the air flow.”

Some baby bumpers are breathable, but doctors didn’t differentiate between the two. Instead of bumpers, doctors recommend following a simple rule.

“The ABCs of safe sleep.  Babies should sleep Alone, on their Backs, in the Crib–along with a ‘D.’ Don’t use a bumper,”  Sharfstein said.

“I kind of feel like I should take the bumper down,” Tribles said. ‘When she was really little I worried about her suffocating. Now that I know that they’re saying the bumpers are not safe it scares me a little bit more.”

If the ban is approved, it would go into effect January 2013, and it would be the first of its kind in country.

There is a public comment period before the Maryland Department of Health makes its final push for a ban. If you would like to voice your opinion, send an email to regs@dhmh.state.md.us.

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